Lady Dopers: Experience with copper IUDs?

My oldest daughter, TheThreadPirateRoberts got an IUD put in last month (don’t worry, she knows I’m starting this thread!); it was a Paragard Copper-T.

She just had her first period with it in, and is now considering, after all she went through to get it, getting it removed! Her period lasted about twice as long as normal, and was filled with horrible cramps the whole way through (not just the first day or two, as is typical for her); cramps so bad she was on prescription pain medication!

I’m trying to convince her to keep the device for a couple more months, to see if things settle down a bit. But I never had an IUD, so all I know is what I can read online. If you’ve had the copper IUD, what was your experience like in terms of your period, and did the issues lessen with time?

PS: She would be posting these questions herself, but doesn’t have regular internet access right now.

I had a Copper 7 back in the day. The first period after insertion was really bad. After that, they were perhaps a little more crampy/annoying than without, but not terrible.

So I’d recommend giving it a few more months before making a decision.

Oh, I also got pregnant while wearing it…so make sure if it should be removed in 3-4 years, you go with the earlier time.

I also had the Paragard after I had the sprog. Experience spoilered for the squeamish.

My periods were twice as long, and the bathroom looked like a crime scene if I wasn’t careful, and I was passing very large chunks of tissue. I also had to double up and use one of the Super-Duper tampons and a pad, and I had to change both fairly often (every 3 hours or so). The cramping and back pain did ease up, but nothing else did. I would use it again, but I had it removed after about seven years because I couldn’t deal with the periods anymore.)

Ergh. A woman in my current due date club (March 2011! Aiiieeeee!!!) found out she was 20 weeks pregnant… with a copper IUD in place. She then had the baby at 31 weeks. What a mess.

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My first one was great. No symptoms whatsoever. My cramps got BETTER. Took it out to have a baby, got pregnant the second month it was out.

My second one was so terrible that I got Essure instead. I was filling up my DivaCup (which holds an ounce) to overflowing eight times a day on my worst days. Nothing like losing a cup of blood to make you feel like ass. Nothing like changing a DivaCup in the public bathroom at work four times in 8 hours. I’m still not back to normal, but I’m getting there.

I had one after my first kid was born and liked it enough to get another one after the second kid was born. My periods are definitely heavier with the IUD than they were when I was on the pill, but, as my midwife said, no duh. If your point of comparison is with a hormonal form of birth control, of course your period will be more intense with something non-hormonal.

I do have a vague idea that the first couple periods were the worst, especially with the first one. But, as it is now, I don’t have any cramps and I only have one day per cycle when I’m changing tampons more often than I’d really like.

Thanks for all the responses, guys! I just remember how much stress she went through, anticipating the procedure to get this thing inserted, and am hoping she doesn’t give up on it too soon.

Out of nominal curiosity, why the copper IUD?

I’ve had mine for the past 6 years. I love it because it is maintenance free, very effective, and has no hormones (which aren’t my friends).

The first few periods were heavy and crampy, but it settled down and now it is just normal.

Not quite sure if this query is directed at me. . .
If it is, I have no idea why she got the copper IUD as opposed to another type; I do know that IUD’s like Mirena are marketed to women who’ve already given birth, and some doctors won’t put hormone-infused IUD’s in women who have not given birth. Don’t know why. But I do know my daughter’s never been pregnant.

Out of curiosity, does it turn your hoohah green?

I have the same model and the first month was definitely hellish; I actually called the doc because I was bleeding so heavily. The cramping disappeared after that but the bleeding continued to be scary for the better part of a year. The thing is, I was breastfeeding and have wacky hormones anyway so my first period on it was my first period in a year, so it actually makes sense that it would be crazy.

I’ve noticed in the past 6-8 months, since I quit breastfeeding, that the bleeding is a MUCH more manageable level and only lasts about five days now. No cramps at all either.

I chose the copper IUD because I don’t have insurance so I went through the local Health Department. The only IUD they offer is the copper one.

Based on all the stories I’ve heard about it (pain inserting, pain on periods, the body rejecting it), why would anyone want it? I know the Pill has side effects, too, but not THIS bad…

Linky to excerpts of medical articles on copper IUD’s pubmed.org.

Anecdote: my mom had one in the seventies. She had an ectopical precnancy while on them that nearly killed her.

I wouldn’t assume it’s the copper causing the problem. I had a Mirena IUD and I suffered through a full year with that sucker before I finally decided to get it out. I’ll spare the gory details; let’s just say my body has never really been the same since.

That said, experience is going to vary from person to person. Women who haven’t had children will probably have more serious issues than women who haven’t. Heavy periods and such-like, from what I understand, is usually a temporary thing. Unless what she’s going through is so bad she wants to die, I’d suggest waiting at least three months before making the decision to take it out.

Freudian Slit, the answer to your question, at least from my POV, is desperation. The most important function of contraceptives to me is regulating my cycle, which is totally out of whack otherwise. I went through a bunch of different pills before getting desperate enough to risk the IUD. And I still regret it.

From what I understand it’s much easier for women who have had children. A lot of them get it inserted immediately after the delivery of their kid so it’s like nothing compared to giving birth.

I have a family history of breast cancer. As I understand it - and to be honest, I haven’t done all that much research - hormonal contraceptives also increase the risk of breast cancer. I have a copper IUD because I wanted a birth control method that doesn’t involve hormones.

Freudian Slit - even taking the hormones out of the equation, I find the IUD to be preferable. I never have to remember to take a pill, I never have to get a prescription refilled, etc. There’s nothing to worry about! The only thing I miss about the pill is knowing exactly when my period would start.

(Bolding mine)

I’m sure there’s a typo in here somewhere, but damned if I can parse it as it stands. Olives, would you please extrapolate? :wink: